It was announced all over today that our new Warriors regime (Lacob and Gruber) would like a fresh start this training camp without Don Nelson holding the keys to their new investment. They can’t officially make moves for the team, but they made it clear to Cohan and Co. that they’d like Keith Smart at the helm to start this season. As By said, the Smart era is upon us! As much bashing as Nellie took over the last two seasons it’s hard to remember why they wanted him in the first place, but looking back he was easily my favorite Warriors coach of my lifetime, and for that I thank him for bringing me some joy in the postseason which is more than I can say about any of the other coaches they had.
Growing up people always wondered why I liked the Warriors. It was hard to justify, but in the late 80’s Nellie made me a huge fan throwing together the Run TMC package of Mullin, Hardaway, and Richmond. Sarunas Marcuilloneus is still my favorite international player of all time. From that moment on, I was going to be a Warriors fan for life, and going to their games every time I went to visit Grandma and Grandpa probably added to it as well. He retooled the dubs with Spreewell and Chris Webber after the Run TMC days were over. Nellie’s teams made the playoffs in four out of his seven years as the Warriors coach. Little did I know then that they wouldn’t make the playoffs for a loooong time after he left, because the beginning of the Cohan Era started in 1995.
His second stint with the Warriors was highlighted by his inability to get along with players, and that shouldn’t have come to a surprise to the fans, since he was behind selling Chris Webber away for a poo poo platter after just getting ROY honors. Alas, he did give us a magical season in 2007. It was probably one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league, unless you’re a big fan of defense for some reason. The year after they won the most games of anyone to miss the playoffs, so he still hadn’t lost the team yet, but that offseason he broke everyone up starting with Baron. Even in this day in age where we only remember what was said last, I still love the guy, even though he was the main catalyst behind breaking up two good teams. He gave me the best basketball for my team during my lifetime, and I’m grateful for that no matter whatever other stuff happened. I wish him the best, and hope that the Smart Era isn’t like the Montgomery, Carlesimo, Musselman, and St. Jean Eras. It can’t be worse than them, and it looks like our new owners actually want to acquire talent that fits together. I’m cracking a Bud Light right now just for you Nellie!